Startup Next, a program for entrepreneurs and new companies that helps prepare them for growth into accelerator programs, is coming to the Triangle in partnership with Durham-based Groundwork Labs.

Up Global, which is backed by Google for Entrepreneurs, Coca-Cola, the Case Foundation, Microsoft and the Kauffman Foundation, chose only three programs worldwide in launching these new partnerships. It is an international organization, operating in more than 100 countries. 

Other Up Global programs include Startup Weekend, Startup Digest and NYSE Corporate Connections.

“By forming these partnerships, we are able to boost the offerings of each organization and program in very tangible ways,” says Startup Next Program Director Matt French in a blog post.

  • Latest news from Groundwork: Groundwork Labs now offering stipends.

“This move enables successful companies graduating Groundwork Labs, Lean Entrepreneur or Start It Smart to take advantage of the mentors, content, connections, and post-program opportunities we are building around Startup Next, such as access to our partnership with the Global Accelerator Network or other accelerators we can make trusted referrals to. In return, we are confident that these partners will continue running strong programs and provide us with a group of the most promising early stage teams from those cities to continue helping.”

Lean is based in Vancouver, B.C., and Start It Smart operates in Bulgaria. 

Groundwork Labs, which is operated by economic development group NC IDEA, has worked with scores of startups through mentoring and other support.

Companies that go through the free three-month Groundworks program will be eligible for participation in the five-week Startup Next process.

Startup Next launched in 2012. Key points include:

  • Business idea validation
  • Customer development
  • “Investor ready” pitch desk

Companies that completed Startup Next have been selected by various well-known accelerators such as Techstars and 500 Startups.

John Austin, the director of Groundwork Labs, has coordinated Startup Next efforts in the Triangle over the past year, and he says the new partnership makes “great sense.”

“The Next curriculum has influenced the Groundwork Labs program, and the Groundwork program has informed tweaks to the Next curriculum,” he explains.

“Because both programs are targeted at the same audience, deliver essentially the same results, share the organizer/director, and use some of the same mentors, it made great sense to combine efforts.”

The first session for the new partnership will begin Oct. 6. Applications are due by Sept. 5.

Applications can me bade online at the Groundwork Labs website.